Spencer picks firm to design new downtown park

Published 9:05 pm Wednesday, December 15, 2021

SPENCER — The Spencer Board of Alderman on Tuesday agreed to contract for design services for a new park and accepted a new donation for its Yadkin River trail head project.

Special projects planner Joe Morris said the board needs a combination of design services and other professional services for the proposed park on the corner of Park Plaza. The park originally was included in Park Plaza’s town hall renovation, but it was removed because of its potential costs.

The town received qualifications from Alfred Benesch and Company, which the town is working with on the trail head project. It’s also the firm behind the Davidson County side of the park at Wil-Cox Bridge. Benesch was the only firm to submit a proposal for the park in Park Plaza.

The town recently accepted a $100,000 grant from Fred and Alice Stanback intended to kickstart the project. Morris said in addition to the design the town needs to update its comprehensive recreation plan in order to apply for a Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant for the project.

The current recreation plan was adopted in 2014. Morris said the plan was managed and developed by a firm that merged with Benesch. So, the same people who worked on the 2014 plan would work on the updated plan.

Besides updating its recreation plan, the grant also requires public input.

If Spencer manages to secure a PARTF grant, it could be awarded up to $250,000.

Mayor Jonathan Williams Williams said the town should take what the community wants into account when building the park as well as how it will fit in with existing events such as Winterfest.

Morris said there are options for amenities to include in the park because part of the grant application is including at least three recreation components such as natural spaces, play areas and performance venues. He told the board applications will be taken in May. So, the town needs to start the process now.

After approving letting Town Manager Peter Franzese contract for services with Benesch, the board immediately called Morris back up to talk about accepting a $10,000 grant from the Salisbury-Rowan Community Foundation.

The town applied to receive the funding, which will go toward the Yadkin trail head project — the start of a park on the Rowan County side of the Wil-Cox bridge.

The trail head project has received several injections of cash in grants, and the town is also applying for grants through the N.C. Parks Department’s Recreational Trail Grant Program and Carolina Thread Trail.

Morris said the town already has enough money to get started on the project and should aim for a March groundbreaking.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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